The Discipline of a Shrunken Life

It’s not the thing we normally think of, to reduce our life scope. In moments of over-stimulation we cry for it but very soon we’re bored, feeling confined, or just unfulfilled. We want more. It’s a human thing, not to worry. But there are times when life shrinks, when focus is forced, when choices are limited. That is the perfect definition of discipline.

You don’t have to like it or ‘accept’ it. But from this end of life (the ‘old’ end) I would encourage you to do just that. There is a reason it has come into your life, a good reason. Probably an obscure reason, to you. But here it is.

It’s a visitor. It won’t stay even if it lingers. As the old deacon said, his favorite verse was, “It came… to pass.” Pass it will and you will recall it in your reminiscences as ‘that time’, when you learned so much and hated the lessons until later. Then you brag about it.

Right now, my life is shrunken. I wake up, I go to the gym to work out, I stop at the store, I come home and get ready for work. I work, usually eight hours,the results 1 sometimes twelve, I go home to bed. One room. One job. One Gym. One day a week off.  I stopped complaining when I saw the paychecks, and when I looked in the mirror. I realized it was the results I wanted, not the schedule.

This is the Means to the End, to the Goal. Right now, life is exactly what I want, based on what it will produce. I spent more than a year living on a “free time schedule” and wrote. And had no money, no body, no satisfaction but the satisfaction of seeing my characters live. That was good, too. But I wanted a life of my own, a life that I can be proud to call mine, in a body that I don’t need to be embarrassed about. Maybe a life I can blog about!

And here I am. The essentials are covered. I have the time and energy to do the self-development. And in the small spaces in between, I still have time to write. And edit. A lot of edit. I sorted through my unfinished manuscripts: between twenty and thirty that I actually WANT to finish, and maybe that many more that I decided to—gulp!—delete. I will never finish them; they are not worth it at this time.

So when discipline comes to visit, invite it in, get comfortable with it. But remind it who’s the boss. Because in the end, the boss of the discipline is still—you.

first name

About Gordon DeLand

Author, speaker, ex-Navy and ex-preacher and ex-several other things. Grew up in the wilderness of Madison County, New York State. Officially retired, currently residing Chicago but have lived on all four coasts and Hawaii. Maybe someday I'll retire back to New York. But not yet.
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